Thank you so much Mary – you have indeed found the graves of my patriarch Richard Empson, wife Ruth and their son Joseph, my direct ancestor. I visited St. Canice’s Cathedral last summer to find that so many of the stones had sadly weathered away and with St. Mary’s closed for reconstruction, I couldn’t visit there to hunt for them. A lady in the gift shop in the cathedral had a very simple index of surnames only and could confirm there were Empsons buried there but no transcripts and only a vague reference for a large plot in front of the doors, so it is wonderful to find that there is a transcription from 1956 – hooray for local historical societies!
However, as ever with family history, when one mystery is solved , another comes to light, so in the hope that others may read and contribute to this thread, here are my further thoughts on the above data;
– Richard Empson married Ruth Evans by licence issued in 1778, and I’ve found children baptised for them in St. Mary’s Kilkenny 1784-1794, but no William in approx. 1791 (but there is a possible gap for him and his eldest brother Richard (ba. 1778) has no baptism record either.)
– Joseph Empson married Margaret Jestin in 1823 in Abbeyleix so little Catherine dying in 1915 cannot be their daughter! Nor can her brother William dying in 1817(?) be their son, so I need to hunt for an earlier marriage for Joseph now. However, I wonder if the year of death for this William should be 1847 as this would correspond with a known son of Joseph who died aged 21 in this year and is known to buried in St. Canice’s?
-Reynolds/Doxey(?)/Johnson are all new names to me but the old railings noted around all 3 tombs have to be significant so will need to follow these up.
– The infant deaths of Robert and John Empson in the 3rd grave are very intriguing. I had found a Richard Empson and his wife Sarah (nee Pyne from the 1760 marriage licence) baptising children in St. Mary’s, Kilkenny, Robert (1768), John (1769), William (1771) and Sarah (1772) but I think that I may have found a reference to Robert in a 1784 deed?
– I did find out a little bit about Evans in relation to the Evans Asylum on Evans Lane that used to exist in Kilkenny but I haven’t been able to make a definitive connection, so I would be grateful for a copy of the Evans bequest article, thank you. Ruth Evans, wife of Richard Empson would have been born about 1757 which is a good candidate for being the first child of Isaac Evans and Frances Leech married by licence in 1756 and also the names of 2 of Ruth’s children.
Empson, Leech and Evans do appear to be significant family names in the City of Kilkenny around this period but it is proving hard to establish how many branches of each name may have co-existed. I’m labouring through the Registry of Deeds townland indexes for the city at the moment too but you know sometimes you can have too much of a good thing – there are lots of deeds in these names!
Thank you once again for helping me find out more about this family branch.